Italian word of the day: ‘Sbagliare’

Italian word of the day: 'Sbagliare'
Photo: DepositPhotos
Avoid slipping up by learning this useful Italian verb.

If you're learning Italian, you've probably sbagliato a few times without even knowing it.

This verb might look mixed up to English speakers – a word that starts “sb”?! –  and in fact it is: sbagliare means to mess up, make a mistake, get it wrong.

And as any learner knows, there are so many things to get wrong.

Scusi, ho sbagliato numero.
Sorry, I've got the wrong number.

Non abbiamo tempo di sbagliare strada.
We don't have time to take a wrong turn.

Attenti a non sbagliare treno.
Be careful not to take the wrong train.

Hai sbagliato tutto!
You've messed everything up!

When you're not messing up something in particular, just more generally, you can use the reflexive form of the verb: sbagliarsi

Ti stai sbagliando di grosso.
You are very much mistaken.

Pensavo fosse lei, ma mi sono sbagliato.
I thought it was her, but I was mistaken.

Se mi sbaglio, sarò felice di ammetterlo.
If I'm wrong, I'll happily admit it.

You'll also see it used in its adjective form to describe something that's not quite right.

la risposta sbagliata
the wrong answer

un Negroni Sbagliato
a Mixed-up Negroni (a Negroni made with sparkling wine instead of gin)

As a question, it's also a useful way to check if you're right – or at least, if someone else thinks you are.

Ho ragione, o sbaglio?
I'm right, aren't I?

Ho sentito bene, o sbaglio?
I heard that right, didn't I?

But even when you get it wrong, don't worry: sbagliando s'impara (you learn by making mistakes). 

Do you have a favourite Italian word you'd like us to share? If so, please email our editor Jessica Phelan with your suggestion.